Honolulu local food dinner
Looking for a dinner spot in the Honolulu general area serving local food at reasonable prices. We have eaten at Side Street and love it there. Anyplace else that is as good and as reasonable? Or should we just plan to return to SS? Would like to find any local treasures that you know about. Thanks in advance!
I like Big City Diner for local style prepared food. Don't bother with the Kakaako location though. Had a bad experience there once. The Kaimuki or the Kailua restaurants are excellent for their guava baby back ribs and deep fried calamari dishes. People rave about the kim chee fried rice and huge burgers. Great comfort food.
The Kakaako Kitchen near the Ward Center is also good for local style foods. Not too expensive either.
If you're looking for real local food, but with almost no atmosphere, try Yama's in Moiliili (behind Long's Drug Store). They make great lau lau and pateles, and all the other food is good, too. No liquor license but you could always buy some beer at Long's. Even better, buy the beer and the food and go to Wa'ahila Ridge State Park (kind of behind the University, you can Google the map) for a picnic in a Norfolk pine forest. Wa'ahila also has great hiking and mountain biking trails.
Rey's Cafe is also excellent. Unfortunately, both Rey's and Yama's close early so plan on eating early if you're having dinner. Rey's also lacks a liquor license. Both places are sort of dives, but you can't beat the food and I think Rey's has the best opakapaka I've ever eaten and at very reasonable prices!
I almost forgot. If you're going to be on the Windward side, you've got to go to Kikuya in Kane'ohe for the best Japanese food. It's always crowded and they won't take reservations for fewer than 4 people, but it's worth the wait. The parking is really tough, but you can usually find some on the street. They too lack a liquor license, but you can buy some good old Kirin beer across the street at Nanko Fishing Supply. I lived in Japan for 5 years and that's one of the places I take friends visiting from Japan. All agree it's excellent food, unbelievably cheap for their dinner combination plates (which come with really fresh sashimi, the same plates at lunch are cheaper and don't include sashimi), and "real cooking." The tempura is light and not at all greasy. The butterfish is always cooked just right and the chicken is really good as well. Windward Mall is just around the corner so you can get some shopping in, too, if you want. A friend and I often eat at Kikuya's and then go to the mall for a movie, or see the movie first and then eat.
Breakfasts at Cinnamon's in Kailua are really good (they make a great Benedict) and inexpensive. Now that I live in Honolulu (I lived in Kailua for over 30 years) I still go over to Cinnamon's for breakfast sometimes. It's a beautiful drive and the food makes it worth the half hour you'll be on the road from Honolulu. Kailua also has the best beaches :-)
aloha- if you like dim sum try legends in china town. my favorite place for local food is ono Hawaiian food or a plate lunch spot called the lunch box. Both do great food for a nice price. also take a look around in china town some great eats around that area. for a upscale place try Nobu i know its not Hawaiian but the food is great. other then that try to go to new places there are a lot of fun places to eat. like the place on king street where you grill your own meet or the Brazilian place where its all you can eat and they come around with meat on a spit.
Nico's at Pier 38 serves a a lot of fish dishes at reasonable prices. I also like the setting, on the docks.
A lot of local people like 12th Avenue Grill in Kaimuki for their pork chop, kim chee steak, and macaroni and cheese.
Little Village in chinatown is very popular.
Thanks everyone for some terrific recommendations. We were particularly tempted by Kikuya since my oldest daughter spent some time as a student at Doshisha in Kyotoa and a lot of time in Osaka. However, we had spent the day driving to Kanehoe and all around the North shore today and just wanted to stay close. all of your recommendations sounded so wonderful. We ended up at the Big City Diner recommended by Clinton. It was a good, satisfying meal at reasonable prices. We have another day and a half so we are going to see if we can hit any of the other spots in our remaining time. We really appreciate your recs!